Murder, She Wrote (1984–1996)
4 user

J.B.. as in Jailbird 

A chance encounter with her old friend Michael Hagarty leaves Jessica standing over a dead Bulgarian diplomat and accused of murder.


Anthony Pullen Shaw (as Anthony Shaw)


Peter S. Fischer (created by), Richard Levinson (created by) | 4 more credits »


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Episode complete credited cast:
Angela Lansbury ... Jessica Fletcher
Maureen Arthur ... Veronica
Sam Behrens ... Kevin Styles
Michael Callan ... Sgt. Nash
Len Cariou ... Michael Hagarty
Maxwell Caulfield ... Roger Travis
John Rhys-Davies ... Lancaster (as John Rhys Davies)
Leslie Easterbrook ... Glenda Morrison
Michael Horton ... Grady Fletcher
Ron O'Neal ... Sgt. Joe Santiago
Debbie Zipp ... Donna Mayberry
Joseph Ruskin ... Ivanov
John Harnagel John Harnagel ... Clerk
Gregory J. Barnett ... Officer (as Greg Barnett)


After British secret agent Michael Hagarty picks up his easy friend Jessica at the airport, she gets caught over the dead body of a foreign agent and jailed. Some tipped the police that the real Jessica Fletcher had her purse and luggage stolen at the airport and they saw her shoot the foreign agent. Hagarty enlists Grady to tell a false story so he'll pretend she not his aunt. Meanwhile, his station chief Lancaster's suspicions are fed by agent Roger Travis, who also tries to turn jailed suspect Jessica against Michael. Furthermore, suspicious characters roam around, such as a Chronicle reporter, State Department special representative Kevin Styles and Miami PD Sergeant Joe Santiago. Yet Jessica keeps sleuthing, even behind bars. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

23 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

J.B.. as in Jailbird See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Monica, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Hub Braden and Donald J. Remacle had white T-shirts printed on the left breast front pocket area with the phrase... "I Know Anthony Shaw Personally". Only the decorating crew wore the T-shirts on the last day of location filming in San Pedro. See more »


[first lines]
Ivanov: [knock on the door] What?
Michael Hagarty: [from hallway] It's the maintenance man. They sent me out to fix that bad pipe.
Ivanov: Pipe? No, no, no. Come back later.
Michael Hagarty: No, I- I can't do that. I get off in half an hour. They want it fixed now. Open up.
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Murder She Wrote Theme
Written by John Addison
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User Reviews

Jessica Fletcher as a "jailbird"
6 September 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Have always been quite fond of 'Murder She Wrote'. It is a fun and relaxing watch that makes you think as you try to unwind in the evening. If one wants more complex, twisty mysteries with lots of tension and suspense 'Murder She Wrote' may not be for you, but if you want something light-hearted and entertaining but still provide good mysteries 'Murder She Wrote' fits the bill just fine.

"J.B. as in Jailbird" is a very good start to Season 5 if not a favourite episode of mine. Grady's compliance in the plan is not easy to swallow and Debbie Zipp (Donna is pretty pointless here too) is unsurprisingly awful in her one mistaken identity scene with her painful attempts at comic relief.

However, Grady is at his least annoying, least dead weight and actually contributes to the plot rather than distracting from it. By Grady standards this and "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes" are his best episodes by quite some distance. Michael Hagarty returns and it is a joy to see him and Len Cariou playing him so charmingly, cannot get enough of him and Angela Lansbury as Jessica together. Oh and when he gets short with Grady that felt immensely satisfying, being something that was very much deserved and long overdue.

This is also an episode that sees Jessica in genuine danger, even inside the prison, which gives the episode a lot of tension. The reveal is a surprising one.

Angela Lansbury is terrific, as is Cariou. John Rhys-Davies and Maxwell Caulfield are sturdy support and Michael Horton gives his best performance of the series. Only Zipp falls flat.

Production values are slick and stylish as ever with 'Murder She Wrote', even in the confines of a prison cell. The music has energy and has presence but also not making the mistake of over-scoring, while it is hard to forget or resist the theme tune.

The writing is thought-provoking and amiable and the episode does intrigue hugely.

Overall, very good Season 5 opener. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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